Millard Fuller Legacy Build in Vanadzor: Building Decent Homes for 12 Families Currently in Metal Containers

Millard Fuller Legacy Build in Vanadzor: Building Decent Homes for 12 Families Currently in Metal Containers


VANADZOR, Armenia—On July 19, the weeklong Millard Fuller Legacy Build was launched in the city of Vanadzor (Taron 3rd district, Lori region) to honor the memory of Millard Fuller, the founder of Habitat for Humanity and the Fuller Center for Housing (FCH), Inc. The purpose of this annual, internationally recognized week of building is to bring attention to the need for simple, decent, and affordable housing for every family. More than 60 international and local volunteers will have their contribution in building an apartment complex for 12 families currently living in metal containers and will finish its construction.

On July 19, the weeklong Millard Fuller Legacy Build was launched in the city of Vanadzor (Taron 3rd district, Lori region) to honor the memory of Millard Fuller.

Many guests attended the opening ceremony, including Arthur Nalbandyan, governor of the Lori region, Samvel Darbinyan, mayor of Vanadzor, Hrahat Stepanyan, director of the Armenian Relief and Development Association (ARDA) Charitable Foundation, David Snell, president of the Fuller Center for Housing, Inc. with the FCH Inc. leadership team, a large group of volunteers led by Fuller Center for Housing Armenia (FCHA) veteran team leaders, Leo and Sona Manuelian, the largest housing donor and partner of Fuller Center for Housing Armenia, VivaCell-MTS team, and other guests.

“There is a saying: ‘Many people talk about poverty, but few of them talk with the poor.’ Millard Fuller was a person who not only talked with the poor, but also became a bridge between them and the wealthy. He conceived a genius idea, which, in a short time, found fertile ground in almost all parts of the world and took roots in Armenia. Today we are honored to have the Legacy Build here. This event once again proves that humanity is one big family, there are no limits to humanitarian ideas, and good legacy is always constructive,’’ said Ashot Yeghiazaryan, president of FCHA.

Many guests attended the opening ceremony.

It is not by chance that the Legacy Build takes place in the building constructed through the trilateral partnership, as this community is a bright example of unification and good will.

“The annual Millard Fuller Legacy Build both honors the memory of our founder and highlights the good work that the Fuller Center for Housing does around the world. It is most fitting that this year’s Legacy Build takes place in Armenia so soon after they have dedicated their 500th house. The Fuller Center Armenia is leading the way in our worldwide effort to make decent housing a reality for all of God’s people in need,” said Snell.

The plan to construct new homes in the city of Vanadzor began in 2008 when Steve Lazarian, president of ARDA and an American-Armenian philanthropist, sought to assist destitute families living in metal containers not due to disaster. The trilateral partnership between ARDA, the Vanadzor municipality, and FCHA mapped out the construction of a new housing community.

“I did not know Millard Fuller personally, but I’m sure when he was developing the concept for this wonderful, international organization, he surely dreamed of this kind of cooperation, based on mutual trust and boundless love. That is to say, love towards one’s own country, historic land, and our brothers and sisters who have found themselves in a difficult situation due to life’s circumstances. The real love—for our compatriots in Vanadzor who will soon have new apartments—is a warm tribute to the memory of Millard Fuller,” said Stepanyan.

This year marks the fifth phase of the partnership, with 65 percent of the financial investment provided as a gift from the ARDA Charitable Foundation and 24 percent provided by the Vanadzor municipality. The Fuller Center for Housing Armenia made an 11 percent investment in the form of a long-term, interest-free mortgage loan. The fifth phase cost is a total of 83.3 million AMD. With the addition of the 12-unit apartment complex being constructed during the Legacy Build, 67 families have been assisted since 2008.

A scene from the opening ceremony

“After the 1988 destructive earthquake, metal container districts were formed in the city of Vanadzor, where homeless families were settled. During years, these families received apartments owing to different disaster-response projects, and the metal containers were inhabited with the families who stayed homeless not due to the disaster. Today these families are filled with hope. It is thanks to the humanitarian and consistent work of ARDA Charitable Foundation and the Fuller Center for Housing Armenia that 12 more families will have apartments,” said Darbinyan.

“The reality is like a miracle after living in a metal container for so many years. May God bless all of the people who made the impossible possible for us. Our lives have been irrevocably changed for the better,” said a recipient of one of the new homes.

These homes are built using a new technology of polystyrene foam block and local construction materials. The construction started in the spring of 2016. After a week, 12 families will have a decent place; the life of 37 people will irrevocably change for the better.

The volunteers

The Fuller Center for Housing Armenia is a non-governmental, charitable organization that supports community development in the Republics of Armenia and Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabagh) by assisting in building and renovating simple, decent, and affordable homes, as well as advocating the right to decent shelter as a matter of conscience and action. FCHA provides long-term, interest-free loans to low-income families. The monthly repayments flow into a Revolving Fund, which is used to help more families, thereby providing a financial foundation for sustainable community development. Since 2008, the Fuller Center for Housing Armenia has assisted more than 500 families.

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Source: Armenian Weekly Mid-West